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  1. #1
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    Best way to sew a Great Kilt?

    I just ordered 9 yards of a custom tartan weave (Teufel Hunden) in single width and am debating whether to eventually have this turned into an 8-yard pleated kilt, or to cut it in half and make a great kilt by sewing the two halves together. Should I choose to make a great kilt, what is the best way to sew the two pieces together? My fear is that the seam where the material is joined will be rather stiff and make it harder to maintain the pleats. Thoughts?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by 12stones View Post
    I just ordered 9 yards of a custom tartan weave (Teufel Hunden) in single width and am debating whether to eventually have this turned into an 8-yard pleated kilt, or to cut it in half and make a great kilt by sewing the two halves together. Should I choose to make a great kilt, what is the best way to sew the two pieces together? My fear is that the seam where the material is joined will be rather stiff and make it harder to maintain the pleats. Thoughts?
    Most modern cloth is not warpped off-set and so does not naturally lend itself to being used to make a joined plaid. That does not mean you cannot join two pieces, just that the sett won't work out as it would in a traditional plaid.

    More here - http://www.scottishtartans.co.uk/Joined_Plaids.pdf

    When the belted plaid was worn the pleats would have looked more like drape foldsmthan pleats as we know them today and therefore you should not worry about keeping them sharp like in a modern kilt..

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  4. #3
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    24th September 04
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    The general consensus is that the finished size for a great kilt was about the width of your double-width fabric. So you would not need to cut it in half.

    It is also generally believed that they were not make from modern kilt fabric. But more like an army blanket.
    Steve Ashton
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  5. #4
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    I would have to disagree on the Army blanket weight, its really more like modern 18oz cloth. Earlier this year I made a joined plaid from a special run of slightly wider than single width cloth that Issac Walters had made. I used a normal back stitch to join the pieces. I also following the information in Peter's paper on the Geo IV'th joined plaid put in a drawstring. Im quite happy with it. The draw string loops were made with some of the Inch wide wool twill tape that Wydean makes, and in the same green like what you see some MOD Kilts finished off on the top.

    A great kilt is never going to look like a modern kilt, and the pleats will most likely be covered by the back draping of the plaid, so they are not the design element that they have become in the modern garment.

  6. #5
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    I would really like to see any historical document that gives the weight of the fabric at 18oz. I'm sure others would like to have it for reference too. Anything prior to 1780.
    Last edited by Steve Ashton; 21st November 18 at 05:36 PM.
    Steve Ashton
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  7. #6
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    I've handled number pieces of mid-18th century tartan, I can't think of one that is like army blanket weight. Most surving specimens are more like today's 16-18oz weight, some finer still.

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  9. #7
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    I was asked about construction in a PM, as I dont have a photo host, I am attaching some photos of the construction of my great kilt here.



    Joining of the pieces.

    21433021_10156407343738319_789571126747091527_n.jpg

    After sewing and pressing the seam

    29571010_10156407472168319_6201501314361342855_n.jpg

    With the drawstring loops and the drawstring installed:

    23316583_10156408159533319_7274443775555686137_n.jpg

  10. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luke MacGillie View Post
    I would have to disagree on the Army blanket weight, its really more like modern 18oz cloth. Earlier this year I made a joined plaid from a special run of slightly wider than single width cloth that Issac Walters had made. I used a normal back stitch to join the pieces. I also following the information in Peter's paper on the Geo IV'th joined plaid put in a drawstring. Im quite happy with it. The draw string loops were made with some of the Inch wide wool twill tape that Wydean makes, and in the same green like what you see some MOD Kilts finished off on the top.

    A great kilt is never going to look like a modern kilt, and the pleats will most likely be covered by the back draping of the plaid, so they are not the design element that they have become in the modern garment.
    I've joined a couple of plaids from 18th c.-style off-set tartan obtained through Peter. Although original 18th c. plaids were joined with various types of thread (linen and the like), I've found that that it's best to join your plaid with yarns stripped off one end - the "stretch" of the yarns will allow them to hold the plaid together without ripping the cloth. I always used a blunt-pointed needle to avoid cutting any yarns in the tartan. Then, I counted two or three threads in from the selvedge and inserted the threaded needle, put the needle through the tartan, then counted up two or three threads and insert the needle through other piece of cloth, &c. Once you get the hand of it, it'll take you about four or five hours to join your plaid. The ends of the plaid can simply be folded under and tacked down, as they did it in the 18th c. Then you add your drawstring and voila!

    My experience wearing belted plaids for reenactments is that for wear in the hot, humid summer weather, you might want light-weight cloth, with heavier cloth for cold weather. As has been noted above, you don't need to get precise pleats for a belted plaid - they are more properly called folds. But they give one the freedom to move around, and the upper part, when worn as a cloak in cold, windy or rainy weather, really does fulfill its function and keep one warm.

  11. #9
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    Ovis,

    I was somewhat rushed, wanting to get that plaid out in the wild for last season. After reviewing Peter's paper on the Joined plaids, saw that my "Normal" sewing style of a backstitch and linen thread were within the norms in the surviving examples, I just went with it, rather than try and learn a new technique. Im most likely going to be taking this apart for the event at Fort Ti this summer, and when I put it back together, will do the wool yarn and baseball type stitch. Im also probably going to abandon the drawstring, Paul Pace sent me a transcript of a letter from Robert Murray Kieth from 67 that speaks of beltloops,(and the most shocking bit, knit hose!) so might just experiment with external belt pleating for a season or two.

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